The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

MLDP Recap: "Catalyze" with Darin Eich

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This ongoing series explores sessions of the Management and Leadership Development Program (MLDP) through participant narratives. MLDP is a one-term program designed to develop citizen leaders among sophomores, juniors, and seniors at Dartmouth College. Led by expert guest speakers each week, sessions employ experiential teaching techniques to engage students through hands-on learning of core management and leadership skills.

Photo by Thanh V. Nguyen

Prior to my first week of MLDP, I was never fond of small talk. Conversations abo ut the weather at times seemed uninteresting. Whenever I talk to anyone, I constantly tried to determine what was important and what wasn't. As a result, I often stayed silent, leaving the other party confused and anxious.

"Catalyze," the first session of MLDP, led by Darin Eich, PhD, helped change all this. Eich encouraged us to “choose [our] own adventure” and to “find what works for [our] audience,” driving us to relate to each other through our own interests. After a brief presentation, Eich split our group in two, and we were forced into three-minute conversations between our peers. Quickly, he shouted out discussion prompts like, “Why did you come to Dartmouth?” No longer could I spend the time thinking about what was important or not. Without any hesitation, I had to share the first idea that came to mind. I revealed details about myself I would usually hide, but these seemingly unimportant details fostered interesting and exciting discussions. Although I was skeptical at first, these prompts showed me that talking can easily dive into topics much more important and interesting than the clouds or the sun. Fearless conversation, Eich showed us, is one of the most important elements of effective networking.

This workshop not only developed conversation skills, but encouraged confidence and conviction in our ideas. Every thought we have is important, and there is no need to hide them from others. If we share it with the world, someone else will relate. Whether I am making new friends or talking with professors, I know I can count on the skills from this session to build bonds that will benefit me in the future.

-Written by Annie Kunstler '17, Fall 2014 MLDP Participant

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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences